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Committee Opinion Number 480, March 2011

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Empathy is the process through which one attempts to project oneself into another's life and imagine a situation from his or her point of view. Most individuals do have an innate capacity to show empathy toward others. Empathy is as important to being a good physician as technical competence. However, at times the health care environment and educational process overly emphasize technological competence, curing disease rather than healing the patient, or the economic aspects of medicine. This may interfere with an empathic approach in the clinical setting. In this Committee Opinion, ...


Committee Opinion Number 500, August 2011

(Replaces No. 358, January 2007) (Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: The education of health care professionals is essential to maintaining standards of medical competence and access to care by patients. Inherent in the education of health care professionals is the problem of disparity in power and authority, including the power of teachers over learners and the power of practitioners over patients. Although there is a continuum of supervision levels and independence from student to resident to fellow, the ethical issues that arise during interactions among all teachers, learners, and their patients are similar. In this Committee Opinion, the Committ...


Committee Opinion Number 410, June 2008

(Reaffirmed 2014)

ABSTRACT: Genetic testing is poised to play an increasing role in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. To assure patients of the highest quality of care, physicians should become familiar with the currently available array of genetic tests and the tests' limitations. Clinicians should be able to identify patients within their practices who are candidates for genetic testing. Candidates will include patients who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and are at risk for giving birth to affected children as well as gynecology patients who, for example, may have or be predisposed to certain...


4.
January 2015

Committee Opinion Number 617, January 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 403, April 2008) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Obstetrician–gynecologists care for women throughout their lifespans and are in an ideal position to have ongoing discussions with healthy patients about their values and wishes regarding future care and to encourage them to complete an advance directive for health care. In addition, situations may arise in which obstetrician–gynecologists need to participate in end-of-life care. When end-of-life decisions need to be made while a woman is pregnant, the level of ethical complexity often is increased. The purpose of this Committee Opinion is to discuss ethical issues related to end-of...


Committee Opinion Number 541, November 2012

(Replaces No. 401, March 2008, Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) has a long history of leadership in ensuring that its educational mission is evidence based and unbiased. A predecessor to this Committee Opinion was published in 1985, making the College one of the first professional associations to provide guidance on this issue. The College has continued to update the ethical guidance on physician interactions with industry periodically. Obstetrician–gynecologists’ relationships with industry should be structured in a manner that will enhance, rather than detract from, their ob...


Committee Opinion Number 578, November 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 395, January 2008)

ABSTRACT: Acknowledgment of the importance of patient autonomy and increased patient access to information, such as information on the Internet, has prompted more patient-generated requests for surgical interventions not traditionally recommended. Depending on the context, acceding to a request for a surgical option that is not traditionally recommended can be ethical. Decisions about acceding to patient requests for nontraditional surgical interventions should be based on strong support for patients’ informed preferences and values; understood in the context of an interpretive conversation; ...


Committee Opinion Number 456, March 2010

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: In this Committee Opinion, the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses the College's ongoing efforts to promote a just health care system, explores justifications that inform just health care, and identifies professional responsibilities to guide the College and its members in advancing the cause of health care reform.


Committee Opinion Number 563, May 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Pregnant women traditionally have been assigned priority in the allocation of prevention and treatment resources during outbreaks of influenza because of their increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explores ethical justifications for assigning priority for prevention and treatment resources to pregnant women during an influenza pandemic, makes recommendations to incorporate ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning concerning pregnant women, and calls for pandemic preparedness efforts to incl...


9.
August 2009

Committee Opinion Number 439, August 2009

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Obtaining informed consent for medical treatment, for participation in medical research, and for participation in teaching exercises involving students and residents is an ethical requirement that is partially reflected in legal doctrines and requirements. As an ethical doctrine, informed consent is a process of communication whereby a patient is enabled to make an informed and voluntary decision about accepting or declining medical care. In this Committee Opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Ethics describes the history, ethical basis, and ...


10.
December 2007

Committee Opinion Number 389, December 2007

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Because human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection often is detected through prenatal and sexually transmitted disease testing, an obstetrician–gynecologist may be the first health professional to provide care for a woman infected with HIV. Universal testing with patient notification and right of refusal ("opt-out" testing) is recommended by most national organizations and federal agencies. Although opt-out and "opt-in" testing (but not mandatory testing) are both ethically acceptable, the former approach may identify more women who are eligible for therapy and may have public hea...


Committee Opinion Number 664, June 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 321, November 2005)

ABSTRACT: One of the most challenging scenarios in obstetric care occurs when a pregnant patient refuses recommended medical treatment that aims to support her well-being, her fetus’s well-being, or both. In such circumstances, the obstetrician–gynecologist’s ethical obligation to safeguard the pregnant woman’s autonomy may conflict with the ethical desire to optimize the health of the fetus. Forced compliance—the alternative to respecting a patient’s refusal of treatment—raises profoundly important issues about patient rights, respect for autonomy, violations of bodily integrity, power diffe...


Committee Opinion Number 363, April 2007

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Recommendations to patients about testing should be based on current medical knowledge, a concern for the patient's best interests, and mutual consultation. In addition to establishing a diagnosis, testing provides opportunities to educate, inform, and advise. The ethical principles of respect for autonomy (patient choice) and beneficence (concern for the patient's best interests) should guide the testing, counseling, and reporting process. Clear and ample communication fosters trust, facilitates access to services, and improves the quality of medical care.


Committee Opinion Number 352, December 2006

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Innovations in medical practice are critical to the advancement of medicine. Good clinicians constantly adapt and modify their clinical approaches in ways they believe will benefit patients. Innovative practice frequently is approached very differently from formal research, which is governed by distinct ethical and regulatory frameworks. Although opinions differ on the distinction between research and innovative practice, the production of generalizable knowledge is one defining characteristic of research. Physicians considering innovative practice must disclose to patients the purp...


14.
June 2012

Committee Opinion Number 528, June 2012

(Replaces No. 368, June 2007) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Obstetrician–gynecologists may find themselves at the center of adoption issues because of their expertise in the assessment and management of infertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. The lack of clarity about both ethical issues and legal consequences may create challenges for physicians. Therefore, the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discusses ethical issues, proposes safeguards, and makes recommendations regarding the role of the physician in adoption.


Committee Opinion Number 510, November 2011

(Replaces No. 341, July 2006) (Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: It is ethical for physicians to market their practices provided that the communication is truthful and not misleading, deceptive, or discriminatory. All paid advertising must be clearly identified as such. Producing fair and accurate advertising of medical practices and services can be challenging. It often is difficult to include detailed information because of cost and size restrictions or the limitations of the media form that has been selected. If the specific advertising form does not lend itself to clear and accurate description, an alternative media format should be selected....


16.
August 2007

Committee Opinion Number 373, August 2007

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: The physician-patient relationship is damaged when there is either confusion regarding professional roles and behavior or clear lack of integrity that allows sexual exploitation and harm. Sexual contact or a romantic relationship between a physician and a current patient is always unethical, and sexual contact or a romantic relationship between a physician and a former patient also may be unethical. The request by either a patient or a physician to have a chaperone present during a physical examination should be accommodated regardless of the physician's sex. If a chaperone is prese...


Committee Opinion Number 501, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: The past two decades have yielded profound advances in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and fetal intervention. Although fetal interventions are driven by a beneficence-based motivation to improve fetal and neonatal outcomes, advancement in fetal therapies raises ethical issues surrounding maternal autonomy and decision making, concepts of innovation versus research, and organizational aspects within institutions in the development of fetal care centers. To safeguard the interests of both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and t...


18.
September 2017

Committee Opinion Number 719, September 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 553, February 2013)

ABSTRACT: Although not all multifetal pregnancies occur after the use of assisted reproductive technology, fertility treatments have contributed significantly to the increase in multifetal pregnancies. In almost all cases, it is preferable to avoid the risk of higher-order multifetal pregnancy by limiting the number of embryos to be transferred or by cancelling a gonadotropin cycle when the ovarian response suggests a high risk of a multifetal pregnancy. When multifetal pregnancies do occur, incorporating the ethical framework presented in this Committee Opinion will help obstetrician–gynecol...


Committee Opinion Number 709, August 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 359, January 2007)

ABSTRACT: Monetary reimbursement of physicians in exchange for medical advice and treatment is well established and accepted in medical practice. However, financial pressures and the pervasiveness of entrepreneurial values have led some physicians to widen the scope of activities for which they seek reimbursement. Some of these commercial activities are ethically problematic in the clinical setting. Obstetrician–gynecologists should strive to ensure that commercial enterprises in medical practice do not compromise the patient-focused mission of clinical care. In this Committee Opinion, the Am...


Committee Opinion Number 695, April 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 371, July 2007)

ABSTRACT: Sterilization is the most common method of contraception among married couples, with nearly twice as many couples choosing female partner sterilization over male sterilization. Although sterilization is among the most straightforward surgical procedures an obstetrician–gynecologist performs, it is enormously complex when considered from a historical, sociological, or ethical perspective. Sterilization practices have embodied a problematic tension, in which some women who desired fertility were sterilized without their knowledge or consent, and other women who wanted sterilization to...


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